Accessible or Usable?
I overheard someone yesterday talking about a vendor proposal for a new web application (I work in government and accessibility, as you can imagine, is a main focus for any online pursuits). The person, of the non-technical variety, was praising the vendors intuitive ideas on making the site ‘Accessible’. Excitedly, this person said to their colleague “They said they could make the site really accessible by putting icons at the top of the screen that can enlarge the font and zoom in”. So, this had me thinking on where I stand on, what appears to be, this huge debate on the appropriateness of such ‘widgets’.
Honestly, I get it. I understand why people want to feature these types of widgets on their sites. I even understand the marketing value of making a website appear accessible with these little icons floating in the top right corner of a page. I do wonder, however, how may visually impaired users will rely on these widgets being on a site in order to change font-size. Surely these people have their browsers pre-configured to change font sizes and the like accordingly.
Text resizing widgets DO NOT mean that a website is accessible. They are, however a nice little add on for visuals and increased usability.